Homeopathy: The Stupid Strikes Back

October 31, 2009

Fear the stupid, fear it:

Stupid has no limits. It especially burns when you know something. And indeed, the following video is like showing a cross to a vampire, except this one is with science and educated people:

Just in case you don’t know, homeopathy basically says that if you imbibe something that caused harm in small amount, it will cure you of whatever you had. I know, it is like saying if you rub feces on you, you will get cleaner. Just doens’t make sense. Orac does a good job deconstructing these things (and hat tip to him for providing this entertaining and painful show). Of course, he focuses in the medicine, but he can also tell something is horribly wrong in her “physics” lecture. He covers the physics part pretty well, but I will go in more details in the physics side of things.. Even if I become Patrick Star stupid after this, I will at least have provided entertainment, so here I go. *gulp*

Note: I am not an expert in physics, but I did make as much as I could with what I knew, and a little research. Any errors, feel free to correct me.

And heh, she says at the beggining that she will “explain” things, heh, “explain,” followed by asking if anyone had chemistry classes. Probably none of them had it, and if they did, they must have failed horribly, or it is the suckiest school ever because as you watch the rest of the tape, you will start wondering what part of all of these were part of physics and chemistry classes. 

Notice how she begins by throwing in a famous name? Makes everything seem a little bit oh so credible, doesn’t it. Immediately after mentioning his name, though, she begins to screw with physics and what he actually said. Okay, not so much, it is more of me nitpicking. C squared is speed of light squared, not speed of light. If it were speed of light, then you wouldn’t need that square, would you? But now the mental stuff begins. She claims that if you put all the mass in the universe so that there is no space in between the matter, that it would be the size of a bowling ball. Well, if she means by all the spaces an atom has because of electrons, you only need to look at neutron stars. Neutron stars are so massive that electrons are absorbed by the proton, turning into neutron. It happens to 1.5 solar mass core of  even more massive giant stars. So you see, if the whole universe is squeezed like that, it would certainly be much larger than a city sized neutron star, and then, it would squeeze into a black hole, which is mathematically infinitely small. Of course, mathematics does not reflect reality, but it is super small definitely. If you take account of the event horizon, that is a different story.

But no, the fact that she was wrong on that fact was not why it bothered me. Uh uh. If you keep playing the video, she is implying as if having small volume means that the amount of mass is small. That is incredibly stupid. Look, we are mostly empty space, all right? Because an atom’s size depends on the very small, very far apart electrons. I still weigh 70 kilos regardless! I would weigh 70 kilos even if I shrunk enough so that I become a neutron star. I would weigh 70 kilos even if I became a black hole, albeit a super small black hole. If you squeeze a cotton ball, there is  still the same amount of cotton. Volume doesn’t matter, only the amount of stuff matter. You still have to take account of the stuff.

And then she makes an even a larger leap of logic. She then claims that since mass occupies a small volume, the term mass(m) of e=mc^2 becomes infinitely small, and what is left is e=c^2! Ow, ow, I got brain fever. What a horrible abuse of math and physics. Firstly, as I said before, mass does not change! Secondly, if you make the limit of mass to zero, then it might as well become zero value. And if you multiply 0 value by c^2, guess what? E=0! Also, how does the unit m^2/s^2 makes sense? That is speed squared, not energy. Energy has the units kg*m^2/s^2. What e=mc^2 do say, though, is that if, say, you turn a paperclip into pure energy, it will probably explode with the power of a nuclear bomb. Tiny little mass=BIG BOOM! And even if there were a gazillion times more energy in the universe (well, there is dark energy, but that is a different story) than energy stored as matter, it doesn’t change the fact that those matter exist.

Then she mentions the fact that vision is important because energy=C^2. I don’t get it. More importantly, of course having “vision system” is important! We would die without the ability to sense our way around. We evolved that way. Life adapts to nature, and natural selection did the best it could by selecting genes for eyes. I don’t know who “Hanneman” is, but I strongly suspect I know why scientists didn’t fall in his camp (clue: he was wrong). 

Afterwards comes another abuse of physics, this time throwing unceremoniously the name Stephen Hawkings. Can someone go to her and tell her to research things at least a little bit, or consult with a physicist, a little, at least, or something. Stephen Hawkings did not invent string theory, funnily enough (check year 1970). He is known for his work on black holes and Hawkings radiation, so I don’t know how someone came up with that connection. Anyways, string theory doesn’t say that there are whole other particles out there that are like strings. It states that those particles are made out of those strings, which vibrate at certain frequency (or was it wavelenght?). Different frequencies corresponds to different particles. And no, those strings are subatomic, so it doesn’t affect the macroscopic except the fact that normal matter is made of them. When she mentions that strings vibrating is energy, e=c^2… More research, ma’am, more research. The internet is awefully convenient for that, you know.

Then she goes on to the connection of physics and biology. Again, she makes the statements which I addressed before, cells are still made of mass, even if it is mostly empty space! And the fact that atoms are mostly empty doesn’t matter at this large scale either. She then talks of breaking the cells into energy, like protons, electrons, neutrons… Wait a minute… That is what atoms are made out of, and atoms are matter! *facepalm* With that logic, she says we are made of energy. Physics class indeed, physics class. With that comes the most incredible piece of stupid in the video yet, just when I thought it couldn’t get stupider. She declares we are energy and that diseases are caused by changes in energy state, like turning chemical energy into heat or something, except something else. Well, there goes germ theory of disease. People, I present to you a most puzzling and curious specimen, a germ theory denialist in the 21st century. Of course, she isn’t denying the germ theory only, since not all diseasees are due to germs, she is ignoring the basics of all biology, pretty much.

Okay, here comes the apex (or nadir, the bottom, if you will) of illogic of the whole piece, which doesn’t make sense even if all her other premises were true: We are energy, disease is caused by energy change, so to cure disease, you have to change it into a prevous state… by using the same stored energy that caused the bad thing to happen. All of it with the analogy of throwing a bomb to a neighbor’s house because a dog pooped in your home. Yup, even if her bad science were true, it doesn’t make sense. It is like saying that you can quench thirst by drinking salt water because salt water causes thirst. And all of that comes along with bad analogy. She is holding no punches back.

The rest is just the whole vibration/energy bull, along with an anecdotal story. If you know anything about standards of evidence, anecdotes are bad evidence. Primarily because human judgment and memories are unreliable. Which is why in a court of law, if you only have eyewitness, but no material evidence, you are screwed.

Oh, and one last comment on energy. You can’t just use energy as if it were something. It exists, that is for sure. Matter turns to energy, energy turns to matter. But mostly, energy is in a form like motion, stored due to position, or as light itself, all being work due to force. So saying we are all made out of energy is… Well, in a way we are because matter is basically condensed energy, but other than that, energy is an abstract concept relating motion with a number, and in case of light, wavelenght with a number, the numbers being energy. And using that number, we can calculate all sorts of things about that motion, and that number is conserved throughout the whole thing. Indeed, this is something that physicist Richard Feynman explains very well.

Now that this mega piece of deconstruction is done, I will end with one last note. “Dr.” Werner, I have never heard so much nonsense concentrated in such a short amount of time. I believe she deserves the accolade of, as the young people say these days (yikes, I am 19 and I already feel old ;) ), “ignunt” of the month.


A Triple Dose of Oprah Woo, Warning: It Might Destroy Brain Cells

June 3, 2009

I don’t like Oprah. And if you looked at a previous post of mine, I think she has no redeeming quality. Sure, she helped out a few people. But when she endorsed Jenny McCarthy, leading antivax celebrity figure, which I am holding her partly responsible for the partial resurgence of some diseases that were supposed to be long gone. Unfortunately, the mainstream media hadn’t made this easy at all. Not only is Oprah one of the queen hive overlord of the media, no one else dared to question her particular brand of idiocy. The credulous media and general population just sat there like a bunch of drones sucking up to her. Well, in the case of general population, it depends on the group of people, of course. But in the case of the media, well, it did not stay quiet anymore. Finally, there is one that is willing to look at Oprah in a magnifying glass, burning away her layer of popularity and examine what she is claiming. Newsweek, you just gained my admiration. And trust me, that is not something I really have said ever before, except once or twice or thrice in my life. Indeed, when I read about this, I thought I was dreaming a place where all of my hopes and aspirations came true, where everything was flowers and butterflies, and that there were unlimited supplies of chocolate, apple pies, and cheesecakes. Either that, or the apocalypse had come. Now, if the rest of the credulous media followed… But if they would have, the Death Star would have destroyed the Earth, leaving only Earth dust behind.

In the end, there is one message, from Newsweek that I would like to leave behind:

At some point, it would seem, people will stop looking to Oprah for this kind of guidance. This will never happen. Oprah’s audience admires her as much for her failings as her successes. In real life, she has almost nothing in common with most of her viewers. She is an unapproachable billionaire with a private jet and homes around the country who hangs out with movie stars. She is not married and has no children. But television Oprah is a different person. She somehow manages to make herself believable as a down-to-earth everywoman. She is your girlfriend who struggles to control her weight and balance her work and personal life, just like you. When she recently related the story of how humiliated she felt when she arrived for a photo shoot to find that she couldn’t fit into the clothes she was supposed to wear, she knew she had every member of the audience in her hand. Oprah’s show is all about second and third and fourth chances to fix your life, and the promise that the next new thing to come along will be the one that finally works.

Hat tip: respectful insolence


Oprah Must Be Destroyed and Other Pet Peeves

May 16, 2009

I am really late at the party, but Oprah has been in my conscience for quiet some times. Sure, she can be nice, and give scholarships to 4 students from my school. On the other hand, she is a perpetuator of the typical uninformed, feel the gut type ignorance, thereby promoting horrible woo woos such as… Sorry, it is too horrible… The Secret. All I will say about it is that it is a woo of magnitude -10 in the logarithmic scale of stupidity, stupid quantum woo…

But now, Oprah is beyond redemption. Anyone who gives multimillion dollar contracts to people who put the public in danger, in this case Jenny McCarthy, who espouses antivaccine lies all the time, is dead to me. There is no way I will ever forgive her for this. I really don’t understand. What knowledge do people think they have so that they are able to promote whatever ideas they want without questioning the validity of their products? What makes their opinion more valid than the scientists who figured out all of the medicine and all?  Is it that McCarthy is a parent, and parents know for sure what is wrong with their children? Is the fact that Oprah’s show is so popular makes whatever she utters the truth, which could possibly be  illusory truth? What do these people have? Are they more comforting? Because if so, that is just lame. Because all it seems to me is that they are just driving a type of informational conformity. Because they know freaking nothing, and perhaps they at least once in a life time invite an actual expert and forget all of the “two sides in an argument” BS. Because you know what? The world just doesn’t work the way YOU freaking want them tttooo!!!!! And because of that, I just want to yell at all of you people who are promoting her stuff to STOP!!! I am sorry, I am just angry that Oprah… *furious breathing*

This is all just messed up. People would rather believe in pseudo intellectuals. And you know another thing that is just messed up? A great pop sci magazine Scientific American messed up, that is what is so messed up. What were they thinking? Inviting a homeopath to actually talk on science? Because really, the only “science” I have seen them do is just to give it to someone, and when they just get better, or the disease is in remission, they go tell everyone it works while ignoring all the cases which didn’t work. Not that it is a surprise really, because all it is, it is just water with ultra diluted chemicals, so diluted not even a single foreign molecule is in there. But of course, water has “memories”, while at the same time, forgetting all the dinosaur craps that have been dumped in our oceans for millions of years.

SciAm, what do you think we are, though? Stupid? Why did you give us this cheap article on beauty?Was it to attract the female components? Hell, that is the way it feels like! What, did you  just underestimate the female audiences just like that? Are actual science underneath women? Because you should go back and stick to actual science because you know what? In the end all you are is a freaking science magazine, and I am sorry that you are not a magazine for medical quacks or one of those stupid girly magazines.

Next target… *Creepily turn head around to fake doctor* Stupid chiropractors. So, being offended is libel, ain’t it? Wow, I just committed libel! Because you can’t make no wrong, apparently, so any criticism that you are wrong is libel. But you know what? You are wrong, because you are all full of scientifically unproven shit, no evidence whatsoever to back up your claims except for stories, whose conclusions you wish it were true, or true for everyone else. You are doing this lawsuit, and why? Just because someone had the temerity to tell you in your faces that you were wrong, here is part of the article:

I can confidently label these treatments as bogus because I have co-authored a book about alternative medicine with the world’s first professor of complementary medicine, Edzard Ernst. He learned chiropractic techniques himself and used them as a doctor. This is when he began to see the need for some critical evaluation. Among other projects, he examined the evidence from 70 trials exploring the benefits of chiropractic therapy in conditions unrelated to the back. He found no evidence to suggest that chiropractors could treat any such conditions.

Worst of all, the judge somehow ruled against Simon Singh, in part because in UK, it is the person accused of libel who has the burden of evidence, and it is just much tougher in general. Anyways, read the link the third link of the above paragraph, the ruling is just plain stupid.

When something gets this frustating, don’t you just want to pull your hair out of your follicles? That is how I feel. I swear, I want to understand the phenomena behind these black hole of stupid. Which is why I feel like venting my final anger into spammers. Well, in this case, it is a questionnaire, not a rant because I am curious. They just tick me off for some reason. I don’t get them. Their job is to post links to the websites they promote, and… is that all they do? Tell me, spammers, what is the lucrative business of spamming like? Do you get a life out of doint that? What is your intrinsic and extrinsic reward? There has to be some sort of reward, or you woudn’t be doing it, I am guessing there is some money involved, right? Besides, aren’t your efforts stupidly futile? Because in all of the blogs I have read, none of them allow spam. Oh, I get it, you are hopin to find a crack, that is it. Right? Right? *sigh* Probably discussing stuff with spammers are futile, they probably have the reading and writing skills of 3rd grade, plus, they don’t care anyways.

Wow, maybe I should cut down on my rants next time. But as a final note, Measels, rubella, and mumps, three not so fun viruses, thanks Jenny McCarthy at a chance for life.


Vaccines Ruled Safe in Court, Antivax People Melting

February 14, 2009

hahahahaha… HaHaHaHaHaH… WHAHAHAHA!

Oh boy, sorry, I lost my cool there for a moment. It’s just that some certain group of people had their butts kicked. Even  in science is not decided by the court, this will surely speak loudly in the minds of people who are not into the scientific method or medicine or whatever.

The group of people who got pawned are the people who think autism is caused by vaccines. They give out slogans like: “too much, too soon” and “there are toxins and metals OMG!” The first one is not true, the second one is really dumb since it is quantity that matters, and any substance can become poisonous with enough quantity. Also, they have a study from this guy named Andrew Wakefield, which despite its horrible methodology, they have dept citing it. Well, no more, his results are *dum dum dum* Falsified. *long 24 style breath after a plot twist* Not that it was surprising, it wasn’t.

Anyways, the sooner the antivax ideology, which is causing the resurgence of some diseases and death of preventable diseases, is gotten rid off, the better.

No Mercy.


Countering the “Open Minded” Review of Terrence Witt’s Book

December 31, 2008

Addendum: Hey, looks like someone listened to my plight! ^_^ (check the comment section) Oh, and I have got to tell you one more classic woo physics from this book. Get this, energy=s*m^2 according to the book, not energy=kg*m^2/s^2. Looks like Mr. Witt just failed middle school physics. (Remember? Kinetic energy=1/2*mass*velocity^2, which makes kg*m^2/s^2, or potential=mass*gravitational acceleration*height gives the same result.) Ohh, and rubbing salt to the injury: another comment from a physicist.

Oh boy, here it comes, with people promulgating “open mindedness,” as if being open minded always leads to intelligent decision. Well, theories sure ain’t intelligent if they are internally inconsistent and well, not real. And so, here comes, from my comment in one of my posted reviews of “Our Undiscovered Universe.” It is boring and insipid, so be ready, and also be ready for a very long rant:

Here is an open-minded review of Null Physics. Eveyone in the scientific community seems very upset over the book. Some readers have even spent their valuable time tracking down Mr. Witt online and posing reviews every time they see his name. I wonder why? Is it because Witt has discovered something important they don’t want the world to read about? Dr. Morse’s review is very fair. Every review should bring out the positives and the negatives. He also does not use the word “crackpot.” I’ve never featured out what a crackpot is anyway.

He also has some very interesting points about James Randi on his web site as well.

Sara

OUR UNDISCOVERED UNIVERSE BY TERENCE WITT

BOOK REVIEW BY MELVIN L MORSE MD FAAP

SPIRITUALSCIENTIFIC.COM

Just when you thought you were starting to understand quantum physics, here comes Terence Witt with Our Undiscovered Universe in which he challenges virtually all the accepted assumptions underlying our current perception of reality. Terence Witt’s Universe is infinite, timeless (no beginning and no end), with no Big Bang, no accelerating galaxies away from the center, and no sub-sub atomic particles such as quarks. Instead, he postulates that the Universe consists of nothing! This is why he calls his theory “Null Physics”. But not just empty space, not that kind of nothing. Terence Witt’s view of the Universe is that is consists entirely of curved space, gravity, and energy forming a complex balance of matter and anti-matter, energy and dark energy, all adding up to nothing at all. Read the rest of this entry »


Chicken Soup for Woo Lovers

December 30, 2008

This has to be one of the most awesome poetry ever! ^_^ It is basically about how ridikulus woo is, and you will basically see the character “Storm” make the usual diatribe supporting “alternative medicine.” Well, as the poetry says, you know what they call “alternative medicines” that actually work?  Medicine.


Conspiracy Theorists, You Gotta’ Love ‘em

December 27, 2008

Update: More about conspiracy at the bottom

I recently found some weird conspiracy theory based on Titanic. You see, someone wrote a book about a ship named Titan sinking thanks to an iceberg, and for some reason, someone building a ship with a similar name, but not the same one over a decade later is somehow “not a coincidence.” Anyways, credits to Splendidelles. Oh, and this is not a conspiracy with all of us sketics to discredit pseudoscience, woos, and conspiracy theories. Pfft, what makes you think that? Jeez!

Update:

I just found something complementary to this post. It seems like conspiracy theories have to do something with control. It seems like people who can’t seem to have control and security in their life will attempt at anything to gain that control back, and in order to do so, one sees pattern in places where there are none. This means the person will get supersticious, and if one gets crazy enough, well, the above happens. Anyways, read up about the research, the experiment done is interesting.


The Man Who “Talks” to Babies

October 4, 2008

I found something really sad in the internet (hat tip to skepchick). In that link I just put, there is a series of videos, which is a documentary about a man who thinks he can talk to babies. He goes on to be tested so as to validate his claim. He loses a test by proffesor Chris French and magician/skeptic James Randi and his million dollar challenge. The sad part is, he really believes he can do it. After French’s test, he cried, saying he wasn’t a liar. I don’t think he is a liar or a fraud, and he seems to be a nice guy, but the tests are conclusive in that he uses cold reading.

Cold reading is a technique “psychics” use to fire very vague questions, and when the person responds, it validates what the person says, making the “psychic” know what parts are true. The other person, then, thinks it is very accurate, and that he couldn’t have gotten it anywhere else. This way, frauds decieve many people. People might say, “You are being close minded.” I have seen videos of them doing it, all right, and none of them seemed really psychic to me, and they all fell apart with Randi’s tests. Which is why I hold critical thinking very important. It is less likely you will get decieved if you think about the validity of the claim, and every claim should be tested that way, the way scientists have tested all of their claims which either failed, passed, or got modified. I really dislike psychics, they give me the chills for those reasons. All I can feel about this guy, though, is sympathy.

As for the last test, that was really lame. This guy just read the brain wave of the “psychic,” and just said that it validates it because he was using the non verbal, emotional part of the brain. What the ********! That was so lame that there is no word for it. Even the lamest jokes can’t compare with the lameness of this test. Talk about a strong case of confirmation bias. Woudn’t the best explanation be that that was the brain part he was using when he does the cold reading stuff? Whatever.

Part 1 of the doc:


Total Physics Woo Pawnage of Our Undiscovered Universe

August 26, 2008

Update at the bottom of the post.

I am really late, but I still think it is worth it. You see, a commenter, apparently from MIT’s lab of nuclear science named Ben Monreal (that is what it says on the web page) reviewed that book I mentioned. That book is “Our Undiscovered Universe,” and it seems to be the work of just a crank physicist trying to make things up. Well, this guy makes this really long review of how he got everything wrong. That is right, Terrence Witt couldn’t get almost anything right. It is too long to go into full details in here, but basically, he makes stuffs up. Here is the link. And his conclusion is written below. Read the rest of this entry »


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